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First Time’s a Charm

Magut wins his inaugural half marathon

August 17, 2019
By Jay W. Bennett - Sports Reporter ( , News and Sentinel Half Marathon


Staff Reporter

PARKERSBURG - The 33rd running of the News and Sentinel Half Marathon went down to the wire and was a two-man race here early Saturday morning as the Kenyan rivals bolted down the home stretch toward the finish line on Market Street.

Article Photos

Kenyan Raymond Magut holds off 2018 runner-up and fellow Kenyan Edwin Kibichiy (16)?to win the 33rd running of the News and Sentinel Half Marathon Saturday in Parkersburg.
Photo by Jay W. Bennett

When it was all said and done, though, 21-year-old Raymond Magut had just enough with his final push to record a 9-second victory against 27-year-old Edwin Kibichiy, who finished runner-up in 2018 behind eight-time champion Julius Kogo.

Kogo, who ran a 1:04 flat last year to secure a three-peat, wasn't in the field this time around due to having visa issues.

However, earlier this month at the Debbie Green 5K in Wheeling, it was Magut who bested Kibichiy for the title by 11 ticks as he finished with a top clocking of 13 minutes and 41 seconds.

"This was my first half," admitted Magut, who finished the 13.1-mile course in 1:04:06 to claim the $3,000 top prize. "I have never run any half marathons. This is my first time at a half marathon."

The pace was quick early as the lead pack got through the first mile in 4 minutes and 43 seconds.

It didn't take too long into the race for the usual separation to occur. By the fourth mile, the pack was just a quartet with Magut and Kibichiy being challenged by third-place finisher Cleophas Ngetich (1:04:40; $1,500) and fourth-place finisher Wilson Kibogo (1:04:55; $1,000). Kibogo started falling off the pace on Gihon Road as the runners went past South Hills Golf Course.

"We raced each other at the Debbie 5K so I know him very well," admitted Kibichiy, who once again earned $2,000 for his runner-up finish. "It was a good race.

"I'm thankful and I wanted to win again and I'm going to keep coming back until I win the race."

With only a mile left, it was neck-to-neck but the much shorter Magut ended up having a little more left in the tank.

"I train for 5K, 10K," Magut continued. "I saw the course yesterday and it was very undulating so I tried my best. The course was good. The race was very good."

Magut responded when asked if his body held up well in his first half marathon, "yeah, yeah, yeah."

He was quick with a reply to the question of what enabled him to push through all the way to the end and cross the finish line first.

"I have a lot of speed and I am a strong guy," Magut quipped. "I knew I was finishing very strong. I had a lot of fun."

Although Kibichiy really wanted to win in 2018 and was at least content with another runner-up finish, having experience on the course was a plus for him.

"I just tried to stay focused on my race and stay mentally tough," Kibichiy noted. "It helped me. I knew where to push and I knew around mile 5 it was tough and around mile 12 it's tough.

"I prepared for that and it prepared me for today. Last year, I wasn't sure where I was running. That's why I ran one minute faster this year than last year."

Contact Jay Bennett at



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